STOCKTON, Calif. - The No. 7 women's water polo team fell 8-7 in a battle with their No. 6 ranked counterpart, Michigan, at Chris Kjeldsen Pool on Saturday.
Senior Viktoria Szmodics would will the Tigers (7-7) back from a 7-5 deficit following the third period but Michigan (14-7) would weather the storm and escape with the one-point victory.
Pacific vs. Michigan - In Case You Missed It:
- Similar to their previous matches this season, both teams would be unable to gather a manageable lead holding each other to just a one-point advantage through the first half of play. There were five ties during the match.
- The Tigers took a one-goal lead approaching the break thanks to a goal by Truly Dorland at the two-minute mark and a last second save by freshman Clara Vulpisi on Michigan's final drive of the half. This would be the only lead in the match for Orange and Black.
- Pacific would allow three unanswered Wolverines goals in the third period. Szmodics' two goals in the final frame (4:13, 2:32) would give the Tigers a chance late but Michigan would hold the Orange and Black for the victory.
- Michigan would punch in the first goal of the match but UOP would respond with a goal of their own at the 5:10 mark off an even strength goal by Kyra Christmas.
- Both teams would go scoreless after that point up until the final minute of the first as a Wolverine goal by Maddy Steere put her team up by one bubt a touch pass from Savannah Fitzgerald to Mariana Duarte with :12 left knotted up the match.
- Viktoria Tamas (4:20) and Duarte (3:05) allowed the Tigers to hang in contention responding to a pair of Wolverine goals in the second to keep the match even, 4-4.
- An exclusion by Michigan (2:45) gave the Tigers a golden opportunity to score and junior Truly Dorland would eventually score at even strength to lift Pacific up by one goal, 5-4.
- Clara Vulpisi would make two major saves down the stretch in the final two minutes of the half to help the Tigers hold onto the one-point advantage. The Montreal, Canada native made three of her seven saves in the second period.
- Michigan would keep the Orange and Black scoreless heading into the second half of play. The Wolverines would add three goals in the quarter to take their largest lead of the contest, 7-5.
- The Tigers would take seven shots on goal in the third. Five of their shots would either be saved or be blocked by a Michigan defender.
- Viktoria Szmodics kicked it into high gear in the final period for the Tigers. The senior attacker single-handedly pulled the Orange and Black back into the match scoring a goal (4:13) off a powerplay assist from Christmas and floating a beautiful shot to the back corner past Michigan's goalie Heidi Ritner with 2:32 to go. Both of Szmodics' goals in the frame would trim UOP's deficit back to one.
- Pacific had two drives following this but could not convert on either attempt as a shot by Duarte would be saved by Ritner and Szmodics' shot on the right side of the goal hit the post and would be rebounded by the Wolverines.
- Michigan would run the clock out after that point for the victory.
- Kyra Christmas set a game-high four assists in the match. The junior attacker filled up the stat sheet with one goal, four assists, one drawn exclusion, and one steal.
- Five different Tigers tallied a goal in the contest on Saturday.
Up Next for the Tigers:
- UOP heads on the road for it's first conference match of the season next Saturday, March 23rd, as they take on Fresno State.
- The Bulldogs hold a record of 8-20 overall taking a 17-7 loss against Michigan this past Friday.